Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Star Trek

I had my reservations but I tried my best to enter the theatre with an open mind. The original Star Trek fan in me--the one who owns a Spock action figure, has a Bones magnet on the refrigerator and keeps a working phaser in my sci-fi book section--was highly dubious of a bunch of 20/30 somethings taking over the iconic roles and mythos that is Star Trek. My fear--it would just be a vapid, glossy, Bay-esque insult to the Star Trek that I embraced as a kid and have loved ever since.

Star Trek, as a franchise, was desperate for some new blood to inject new life into its moribund body. I was obsessed with the original episodes when young, loved the Next Generation cast and crew, most of the movies (Star Trek I and V are not watchable!) but kind of lost contact in the middle of Deep Space Nine. The last couple of TV shows were as much an insult to the Star Trek world as this movie could be as they were unoriginal, rigid and minus all the adventure the original show possessed. Star Trek was long since worn out. So, I was open minded and hopeful but a little worried as the lights dimmed.

Cue giant sigh of relief and exhilaration as I loved Star Trek! It is better than I thought it would be in virtually every way. There are lots of nods to the past--in both humorous and dramatic ways. The story is complex, interesting and intense while bringing in Romulans (Eric Bana as the main bad guy), black holes and time travel (yes! One element of the time travel story made me very, very happy). And director JJ Abrams absolutely nails the various action sequences from start to finish. This is easily the best form of Star Trek to come along since TV's Next Generation. Hands down.

This Star Trek is basically a story of beginnings or origin (check out that cute baby Spock!). We see Kirk and Spock as kids, one in Iowa raising hell, the other on Vulcan sort of raising hell too (as much as a 1/2 Vulcan can). We see them at Starfleet Academy. We see how all the principle characters meet (Bones, Sulu, Scotty, Uhura and Chekov) and how they end up on the Enterprise. I'm pretty happy with the cast although some are better than others--Simon Pegg as Scotty and Karl Urban as Bones are good as they chew up their dialogue ready for more; Zoe Saldana as Uhura is hot as all get out; John Cho as Sulu, not so good. Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto as Kirk/Spock, while no Shatner/Nimoy, they were fine.

Early on it is evident that a lot of money was spent on effects and the attention to detail is spot on. The film's space sequences are amazing and kick serious ass. I could quibble here and there about stuff like the over abundance of white/glass on the bridge, the meshy uniforms or the look of the Romulans--but I don't want to come off like a fanatic killjoy. The film is great--why get lost in the Trekkie obsessed world of over nitpicking it to death?

Star Trek exceeded all my expectations. It's perfectly paced, it's got action, humor and tension. It's got all the great characters I love who are starting to form the bonds of loyalty and friendship that they never lose. It's fun. It's got Vulcan pinches and phasers set to stun. It's even got a large dose of swaggering cool. When is the last time Star Trek and cool went together? Well, this is. I can hardly wait for more.

1 comment:

Guy Gadbois said...

You are correct, sir, this was a great movie! I get teary everytime at the end of Wrath of Khan watching Spock die. It's like my "The Notebook".